Marat Terterov: Armenia’s long term security will be better served by strengthening economic security, rather than defining national security on the basis of the Tsarist Russian catch-cry “armiya i flot”
ArmInfo’s interview with first Israeli Ambassador to Armenia Baruch Ben Neria
by Oksana Musaelyan
First, do you think the past parliamentary elections in Armenia were free and fair?
Considering the elections polls which were supervised by our organization there were very little disturbances and problems during the election procedures. It seems like they were free, where were acting in the cities of Yerevan and some others, where we didn’t reveal frauds and obstacles disturbing the free course of elections.
There were plenty claims of bribes that were presented by certain political parties as gifts. Do you think these gifts are legal ones or no?
Fortunately we didn’t discover any bribes or gifts given voters and naturally we couldn’t be present in these occasions. Of course if there we had discovered these frauds, we would have reported them immediately.
As a result of the elections, the leading party won, what does this victory mean for the geopolitical disposition of the country and its relations with the neighbor countries, in particular - Azerbaijan, Turkey, Russia and if possible, I would also like you to comment on the geopolitical situation in the region and potential threats here in the light of Iran problem and the fueling Karabakh problem?
The situation in your Transcaucasian region, and the complicated reality between the regional powers such as Turkey, Russia and Iran, and the activity of the United States and the European community due to the energetic and economical and geopolitical problems make this region very important for different regions in the world, especially the ME, central Asia and others. The dissolution of the USSR created some ethical regional conflict between them Armenia and Azerbaijan on Nagorno Karabakh, Georgia with Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Adjaria and the problems of Russia in the North Caucasus, in Chechnya and other Caucasian republics. The prolonged conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan should be resolved only by the international standards of conflict resolution, meaning that all the sides have to come to an agreement on the subjects and the condition which are signed.
Do you think there are prerequisites for situation to be worsen and war could be broken in Karabakh?
Because of the non recognition of Nagorno Karabach by the international organizations and states as an independent state, the chances for a new military activity still exist. But it is very important to regulate the conflict to a situation of conflict management, and mutual trusting relations between the opponents. Without concrete solutions and initiatives, that both sides know they will need to give up on some of their dreams, the political and military tension will continue on different level of tension. This situation doesn’t demonstrate any advantages to the most relevant countries of the region.
Israel has sold military armament to Azerbaijan, don’t you think that Israel is playing not only against Armenia but also against itself since Azerbaijan is a brother of Turkey with whom Israel has strained relationship?
Israel as all other states in the world has its own strategic and national interests, which are very important to keep the defense of the state and also to prevent military and strategic threats on Israel. The cooperation between Israel and Azerbaijan is by no mean against Armenia, but because of the real and concrete threats and intimidation from the side of Islamic fundamentalist Iran which is developing its nuclear weapons and is ready to use terror all over the world against the USA, Israel and other countries. It is very important for Israel to have a good relationship with all the countries of the region, like Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan. The Israeli Turkish diplomatic crisis which occurred two years ago, I hope it is a temporary one, and will bring both sides to reconciliation and appeasement eventually.
How would you generally estimate the level of relationship of Israel and Armenia and the potential for the Armenian Genocide bill motion in Knesset on the eve of 100 anniversary?
As the first ambassador to Armenia and Georgia, establishing and developing relations between the countries, I would wish for better relations between Israel and Armenia, but it depends not less on the Armenian side as well. Armenia has its own national interests in the region and abroad, and has to develop it’s economy, international trade and foreign investments, and as far as I know there are number of Israeli business men who are interested in such a mutual relationship.
What do you think about the possibility of the Israeli Knesset adopting an Armenian Genocide bill?
The question of the Armenian genocide bill in the Knesset, it is not an easy task, but I believe there is a serious majority in the Knesset to accept such a bill, but it takes time and has to be decided by the members of the Israeli Parliament.